A recent question in a comment inspired me write this post.
Someone asked me if we were still selling our eBooks and online courses.
Well, in a nutshell here is the history of content we created and put behind a paywall. Our first was a membership site in 2009. Yes, it was something that was certainly before its time. The following years, we dabbled with some other membership sites, online courses and, yes, ebooks. Most of these we sold using WooCommerce. They all had different levels of success, but nothing ever really caught on big. The reasons behind that are way too many to get into in this post and, besides, it isn’t the point I wanted to make.
What Should You Do With This Content?
There are a lot of variables here that make it hard for a single answer, but hear me out.
But if you can repurpose it at all, I say, go for it.
The first thing to keep in mind is whether or not you are continuing to give access to your paying users. For example, if you have sold one-year memberships, likely you will want to play it out until that last member’s year expires. If you have given lifetime memberships, I’m going to let you deal with that yourself. But never feel bad about giving it away later, even if someone did pay for it. Because, hopefully, those people got their value from it.
So with everything we stopped, eventually it ended up on our site as blog posts. A few were published in full, but most were broken up into smaller posts. In fact, because we did this, the people who previously purchased it ended up getting even more value because they could access it all in one place, with a logical order of learning it, piece by piece.
But Think about Dated Information
If your content was evergreen, no worries. But let’s take an example of a course on the ‘X’ plugin for WordPress. When behind the paywall, you should have been keeping your content updated as the plugin changed (new features, etc). That’s only fair to your students, and of course, it absolutely should be done if they paid for it. But once you move that content to your blog, it’s all fair game. The only thing you want to make sure of is that it is current when you post it. This is critical. Then you can decide if you want to update the posts down the road (which is another great way to keep traffic coming to your post.)
But I Worked So Hard!…
Let me feel sorry for you for a moment. Okay, that’s over with.
We all work hard on our content and stuff happens. If you let it weigh down your decisions, you will likely never do anything with it. If you have an idea of reworking and reselling it, good for you. But there was a reason you have decided that people are not going to pay you for this content, so don’t mourn the death of it forever.
Truth be told, we found that the content gave us more value after moving it to our blog, but in more indirect ways.
In the end, it isn’t an easy decision. We all get sick of everyone wanting something for free—and constantly trying to meet that demand. So think it through and figure out what works best for you.